Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nebula Award Nominee: "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss"

26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss
Kij Johnson
Nominated for the Nebula Award: Short Story

“Aimee’s big trick is that she makes twenty-six monkeys vanish onstage.”

So opens “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss”, a story about Aimee and her 26 monkeys. Told in 24 short sections Kij Johnson tells of Aimee’s act, how Aimee got the act, about what kind of monkeys she has, what they do. Everything except where they go when the monkeys disappear. See, she doesn’t know. She bought the show for a dollar three years ago from a man who bought the show for a dollar four years prior. The show really belongs to the monkeys. The monkeys are just as much characters in this story as Aimee and her boyfriend Geof. They’re real monkeys, though.

The story is in turns clever, sweet, funny, and sad. After reading last year’s nominated story “The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change” I was quite impressed with Kij Johnson’s storytelling skill and was curious to read more of her work. “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” is a story of one woman’s healing among a show full of performing monkeys – monkeys that accepted her, not the other way around.

It’s good. It’s really good. Last year’s story was one of my favorite nominated stories and after reading this, I expect “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” will be one of this year’s favorites.

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